State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
One year ago, I blogged about the problems associated with feel-good fat taxes.
As far-fetched as a fat tax may sound (most of the revenue often fails to get to obesity-prevention programs or healthy food subsidies), Alabama has taken the extraordinary step of mandating that its state employees get into shape in two years or be forced to pay more for insurance.
Some states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, provide incentives for people to adopt healthier lifestyles. Workers in Ohio get $50 for having health assessments and another $50 if they follow medical instructions.
Arkansas and Missouri give monthly discounts on premiums for employees who take health risk assessments and enroll in programs to reduce obesity and stress. Those states differ from Alabama in that they offer incentives instead of punishments. Alabama has become the first state to charge workers who fail to try to lose weight.
Some medical experts oppose the Alabama plan, saying it's too punitive. Read more about Alabama’s plan here.
Modeled after Wisconsin’s Amber Alert Plan, legislation I have drafted would utilize the Amber Alert system to alert the public about an elderly person wandering or becoming lost. Called the Silver Alert, the system would not increase costs because it uses a service already in operation.
My legislation would also use the current system to notify the public about a sex offender being monitored by Global Positioning System (GPS) either tampers with the GPS device or if the device is not working.
When an Amber Alert is activated, Wisconsin radio and television stations cut into programming to broadcast information about an abducted child using the Emergency Alert System. Highway message board signs also convey information about confirmed child abduction.
Eight states have instituted a Silver Alert-type system that helps find missing Alzheimer’s or dementia patients. Silver Alert has been successful. A majority of those reported missing have returned safely. Stateline.org reports:
“At least 5.2 million Americans suffer from dementia, and research shows that six out of 10 of those will wander. Only 4 percent of those who leave home alone are able to find their way back without help, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Every year, hundreds of seniors and others with dementia wander away, on foot or driving, and if not found within 24 hours, at least half suffer serious injury or death, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. As baby boomers age, the toll is expected to multiply.”
Getting information out quickly and employing the aid of the public may prevent the tragic death of a senior citizen.
Because of my work during the past several years on sex predator/offender issues, I have included offenders that tamper with GPS devices in my legislation. Tampering with a GPS device is a felony. Wisconsin law also prohibits blocking, diffusing or preventing the transmission of a signal from a GPS device.
Should an offender tamper with GPS or if the monitoring device ceases to function, the state’s current Amber Alert System would be used to notify the public of pertinent information about the offender.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on May 10, 2008, that Roy Jackson, convicted of first degree sexual assault of a child, cut off his GPS monitoring bracelet on March 6 while on parole. Jackson went into hiding, but was apprehended in New Holstein by a team of Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Deputies, Sheboygan Police Officers and Deputy U.S. Marshals during a special operation in early June. Jackson had been at large for about three months and was hiding under a couch at the time of his arrest.
Sex offenders tampering with GPS pose a risk to families and their children. The public needs to be given as much information as possible in such instances to insure they can better protect themselves and their children.
I will introduce my legislation to add senior citizens that go missing and sex offenders that tamper with GPS to the current Amber Alert System during the next legislative session that begins January 2009.
Here is an analysis of my legislation from the Wisconsin State Legislative Reference Bureau:
"The Department of Justice (DOJ) currently administers the Amber Alert System, under which it works with law enforcement agencies, broadcasters, and others to disseminate information regarding certain missing child cases.
This bill creates a statutory requirement that DOJ administer an alert system to disseminate information regarding missing adults who are cognitively impaired. This bill also provides civil immunity to persons who, as participants in this alert program, disseminate alerts regarding missing adults at risk and to persons who assist an adult at risk who is the subject of an alert.
Under current law, the Department of Corrections (DOC) uses global positioning system tracking devices (GPS devices) to monitor certain sex offenders, and tampering with such GPS devices is a felony. Under this bill, if DOC believes that the GPS device monitoring a sex offender has been tampered with, or is otherwise not working at a risk to public safety, DOC will alert DOJ. DOJ will administer an alert system to disseminate information regarding that sex offender."
Last night, I had the honor of presenting a special citation from the Wisconsin State Senate to the Muskego Water Bugs during intermission at another of their outstanding performances. The Muskego Water Bugs are invited to compete in the 2008 Sino-American Water Ski Competition in China. Family oriented, the Muskego Water Bugs feature parents and children performing on the shores of beautiful Little Muskego Lake at Idle Isle.
You still have two opportunities to see this incredibly talented group of people this year. The next Muskego Water Bugs show will be next Wednesday, August 27 at 6:30 pm. Arrive at 6:00 PM and see the Futures show featuring new performers in training. Some of the regular fans of the shows call this particular program, giggles. To reach Idle Isle Park, enter via Hardtke Drive from Martin Road.
The Muskego Water Bugs is one of the oldest water ski show teams in the country, celebrating their 50th anniversary September 5 and 6, 2008. September 6, will feature an alumni show at 2:00 pm. The current Water Bugs will perform at 3:00 pm. And you can’t beat this…the price is right: all shows throughout the season and on September 6 are free!
The performers have been rewarded for their hard work and talent, winning numerous state, national, and international championships. Like our Olympians, the team is comprised of amateur skiers and drivers whose only compensation is the thunderous applause of appreciative fans. I am truly amazed at the enormous talent and high-quality entertainment Wisconsin has to offer right here in Senate District 28 in Muskego.
I prepared a Senate citation, and I was thrilled to present it at last night’s performance. The citation reads:
Whereas,, the Muskego Water Bugs are invited to represent the United States at the 2008 Sino-American Water Ski Competition to compete against two top professional Chinese show ski teams; and
Whereas, the Muskego Water Bugs qualified and placed fourth in the Division One National Show Ski Team Competition at the Thirty-Fourth Championships, with additional competition awards to Kelly Neubauer and Kyle Wohler earning fourteenth place doubles, Meghan Moriarty and Marty Campbell earning second place doubles, The Jump Team earning fifth place, and Terry Roslawski earning the Skip Gilkerson Award for best male skier; and
Whereas, the Muskego Water Bugs will represent the United States of America with 14 participants from Muskego, including Terry Roslawski, Peggy Moriarty, Alyssa Modlinski, Cory Krivitz, Kyle Wohler, Michelle Aird, Meghan Moriarty, Marty Campbell, Kaitlin Moriarty, Andy Krumrai, Mike O’Dwyer, Allie Krumrai, Craig Planton, and Mark Moriarty and three Wisconsin water skiers, Jeremy Armstrong, Kristin Armstrong, and Geoff Stone joining the Muskego Water Bugs for the China competition; now
Therefore, the members of the Wisconsin State Senate on the motion of Senator Mary Lazich congratulate the Muskego Water Bugs for successfully competing to earn status to represent the United States of America at the China competition. The Muskego Water Bugs are further commended for earning distinction to represent the United States of America at the China event to better United States/Chinese relations in an environment centered around fun and entertainment.
I wish the Muskego Water Bugs the best of luck at the 2008 Sino-American Water Ski Competition in China! Thank you, Water Bugs, for sharing your gifted talents and for bringing immense pride and joy to our great state!
I call them enticements.
Powerball is announcing big changes in its jackpot lottery game. Like a trailer for the next Hollywood box office smash, a lottery press release pulls out all the persuasive stops to lure more players. Powerball promises to “increase the size of the average jackpot,” and make the game “even more exciting,” because Powerball wants to “create lots of millionaires” and wants to “create more winners with better overall odds.”
Here is an example of the spin Powerball is using to attract even more gamblers. Ernie Passailaigue, the Powerball Group Chairman and the Executive Director of the South Carolina Lottery says, “The price of a Powerball ticket remains unchanged at $1. Even though our players know that the cost of everything else has gone up since Powerball sales commenced over 16 years ago, we didn’t want to raise Powerball’s price in our current economy.”
Isn’t that considerate of Powerball? The people who run the jackpot lottery are so thoughtful, they are going a step further by letting you make the decision to spend even more on your tickets because there will be the option to play for bigger prizes for $2 by using Power Play. “We wanted to give our players the power to choose and with many of our newer member lotteries, more than half of our players have chosen the benefits of the $2 Power Play option,” said Passailaigue.
Changes to the game effective January 2009 include increasing the starting jackpot from $15 million to $20 million, and increasing the average jackpot from an expected average of $95.5 million to $141 million. Powerball promises bigger jackpots that will increase faster. The regular second-highest prize will be $1 million, but players will have to buy the Power Play option for an extra $1 and hit all the numbers except for the Powerball.
Powerball is instituting changes because Florida will become the 33rd state to join Powerball in January.
Currently, the odds of winning Powerball are 1 in 146.1 million. After Florida joins Powerball, the odds increase to 1 in 195.2 million. The long odds are the only sure thing about Powerball. Your chances of winning Powerball are slim to begin with and will become even more difficult.
Jackpots will be bigger and there probably will be more millionaires as a result of the Powerball changes. But there will be a great deal more losers as Florida joins Powerball come January.